100 Years Ago: Belleville Patriotic Fund, 39th Battalion Barracks

The Intelligencer March 20, 1915 (page 1)

“Belleville Patriotic Fund Forces Go Into Action. …  Belleville is going to do unto itself a service. It is going to make an exhibition of true citizenship that will be a credit to the municipality, to the men and women within its borders, and to the aims and objects of the Canadian Patriotic Fund. All this is a fine ambition. That it will be realized there is no manner of doubt.

It is a Citizen’s movement. It emanates from the wellsprings of a sense of duty. Surely such is not absent in the case of one of the oldest of the lake cities. Belleville, as well as all other Canadian towns and cities owes a duty to the Dominion at large in this perilous juncture. …  Who will come forward and volunteer for service with the Patriotic Fund Committee. Who will be one of the sixty-four team-mates. Who, one of the eight team captains. …

During the next few days full explanations of the aims and objects of the Patriotic Fund will be made in the press. The local papers, the Intelligencer and the Ontario, have agreed to do the thing in a handsome way. The verification of their promises will be seen in the size of the advertisement and the amount of space placed at the disposal of the committee …  It remains for the people to read and understand, and doing so there need be no fear of the result. To understand is to be convinced. To be convinced is to give.”

The Intelligencer March 20, 1915 (page 2)

“‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary; It’s a Long Way to go’. The Belleville Canning Factory, alias the Barracks of the 39th Battalion, awoke to further strange sounds last evening. The occasion was the first of a series of ‘home’ concerts, by means of which the officers and men of the Battalion are seeking to make life more interesting.

Col. Preston occupied the chair; he explained at the outset that the present entertainment had been gotten up by the authorities with the Y.M.C.A. working in the shadows but that he would like future entertainments to be ‘for’ the men and ‘by’ the men. …  During the course of the evening Col. Preston gave a short talk on the subject of a Soldiers’ Duty. …  ‘Make this Battalion your father, your mother, your brother, your sister and your sweetheart’, he said, ‘Do this and we will be invincible wherever we go.'”